by Steven Behling

I have a conflicted relationship with my place of birth.  On the one hand, Utah is filled with beautiful, sweeping landscapes, clean air (well, minus the inversion), and is home to the Sundance Film Festival, smiling faces, and a non-negligible portion of my family and friends.  On the other hand, aspects of the culture there drove me further away from, as opposed to closer to, a calm, clear, purposeful sense of my own spirituality...and there's so much Jell-O.  And blonde hair.

Utahns consume more Jell-O per capita than any other state in the union.  There was even legislation passed recognizing Jell-O as the official favorite snack of the State of Utah.  And who can blame them?  Sweet, versatile,, I'm not making a list of attributes for my profile...I'm talking about Jell-O.  Growing up, my favorite were the Jigglers, peach or grape, please.

July 24th is Pioneer Day in Utah, so it made perfect sense for my friends Mark and Emily to host a classy gathering in their midcentury modern Seattle apartment celebrating all things gelatin.  


Contributions included citrus slices, mango ginger blackberry and raspberry peach shots, birdsmilk and raspberry squares (no, I don't know which birds Alena milked), "Troubled Waters" (blue Jell-O with Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids, and SweetTart accents), grapefruit shots with blueberries and mint, strawberry pineapple lemonade in the shape of a brain, "Cowboy Salad" (lemon/lime Jell-O, pineapple, Cool Whip, and cottage cheese), lime pear, raspberry pineapple parfait, "gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, Paleo AWESOMENESS!" (Naked Green Machine Juice and gelatin), classic rainbow, and strawberry white chocolate.  I ended up making lychee raspberry Jell-O with lychee cream dusted with Persian rose sugar from Capitol Hill's Sugarpill (upper right-hand in photo above, half made in my grandma's molds, half in cups).  Lime pear was the clear favorite, but my little lychee raspberry darlings earned the "Most Creative" award.  Emily snapped a photo of me gazing lovingly at the trophy and made it into an emoji using imojiapp. #winning